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Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion Review

An all-time favorite meant for long days on the trail in cooler seasons
darn tough hiker full cushion hiking socks review
Credit: Darn Tough
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $28 List | $28.00 at REI
Pros:  Durable, comfortable, wide temperature regulation, versatile, fitted
Cons:  Not ideal for hot temperatures
Manufacturer:   Darn Tough
By Amber King and Jon Oleson  ⋅  Oct 20, 2022
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Wicking and Breathability - 25% 7.0
  • Warmth - 20% 8.0
  • Durability - 20% 10.0
  • Drying Speed - 10% 4.0

Our Verdict

The Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion has been our go-to for many years. The fabric is soft and comfortable, the length is protective and versatile, and the temperature regulation is off the charts. It's a solid gear choice for multi-day backpacking trips, day hikes, skiing, and more. We have taken it over summits, on long trails, and on casual day hikes. Worn best with a pair of taller hiking boots, this sock provides great protection from tall and wet grasses while offering the warmth you might need on a cold winter night. Even though it's called a "full cushion" sock, it's surprisingly lightweight and relatively thin. We think it's the best sock out there, boasting longevity that'll last you for hundreds of miles on the trail. Better yet, Darn Tough has built this sock for both men and women to help you find your perfect pair.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable, comfortable, wide temperature regulation, versatile, fittedComfortable, plush, high wool content, built for freezing tempsHighly breathable, comfortable, well-fitted, no itch, excellent wicking power, quick to dry, great cushionGreat value, nice cushioning, soft on the skin, good thermoregulation, unique ventilation stitchingQuick to dry, accommodates a liner, comfortable cushioning
Cons Not ideal for hot temperaturesSlow to dry, too warm for summer hikingSlippery fabric, shorter length, not super warmLess wool content, deforms when wet, lacks stand alone warmthLoose fit, lacks compression paneling, loses wicking capabilities in cold weather
Bottom Line An all-time favorite meant for long days on the trail in cooler seasonsThis is a plush mountaineering sock built to keep your feet warm and dry in the coldest conditionsThis lightweight sock is comfortable, breathable and will keep your feet happy in the heat whether you're under the desert sun or tromping through the tropicsThese Merino blend hikers come in a value pack with 3 pairs, giving you more mileage for your money than pricier optionsA synthetic full-length sock with decent durability and a drying speed that excels in wet weather
Rating Categories Darn Tough Hiker Fu... Smartwool Classic M... Darn Tough Light Hi... Danish Endurance Un... Wigwam Hiking Outdo...
Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Wicking and Breathability (25%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Warmth (20%)
8.0
9.0
3.0
5.0
8.0
Durability (20%)
10.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Drying Speed (10%)
4.0
3.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Darn Tough Hiker Fu... Smartwool Classic M... Darn Tough Light Hi... Danish Endurance Un... Wigwam Hiking Outdo...
Material 66% Merino wool, 32% nylon, 2% Lycra spandex 74% Merino wool, 17% recycled nylon, 8% nylon, 1% elastane 54% nylon, 43% Merino wool, 3% Lycra spandex 30% Merino wool, 36% nylon, 33% acrylic, 1% elastane 40% Olefin, 36% X2O acrylic, 20% stretch nylon, 4% spandex
Sock Thickness Midweight Heavyweight Lightweight Midweight Midweight
Tested Length High calf Upper calf Lower calf Mid-calf Lower calf
Time to Dry 180 min 200 min 100 min 140 min 160 min

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion is our favorite hiking sock. This full-length Merino-blend hiker is best for adventuring during the fall, spring, and winter months in cold to warm temperatures. Its performance can be pushed to all types of weather conditions, from cold and wet to sunny and dry. Be sure to check out the different sizing options for both men and women.

Performance Comparison


darn tough hiker full cushion hiking socks review - the darn tough full cushion is our favorite for hiking all sorts of...
The Darn Tough Full Cushion is our favorite for hiking all sorts of distances. This sock works great with a boot or shoe and is available with both a men and women's specific fit.
Credit: Amber King

Comfort


This sock is comfortable and meant for all-day wear. It is constructed of 66% Merino wool, 32% nylon, and 2% lycra spandex to provide excellent cushioning underfoot with a streamlined fit.


Putting this sock on is like slipping your foot into a soft, breathable blanket. The Merino wool blend is soft to the touch, while the spandex and lycra keep it from slipping down while adventuring. The compression paneling concentrated around the arch of the foot and the ankle provides additional support while keeping the sock snug on the trail. We love the length that easily accommodates a hiking boot — it's a perfect sock for everything from day hikes to long thru-trails. Overall, the Hiker Full Cushion is super cozy, though there are plusher options out there if that's what you're looking for.

darn tough hiker full cushion hiking socks review - a look at the darn tough hiker full cushion inside out shows the...
A look at the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion inside out shows the thick cushioning that provides warmth, comfort, and durability.
Credit: Jon Oleson

This Editors' Choice is streamlined to fit like a lightweight sock but with mid-weight cushion. The ball of the foot and heel are more cushioned to provide extra support on the trail - but not so much that the fabric can't breathe.

Wicking and Breathability


Featuring a fine gauge Merino wool blend, this sock wicks and breathes quite well. Our testers took it running, backpacking, and hiking, where it excelled in warm to cool weather conditions. The Full Cushion also kept our feet surprisingly dry after a long, hot day of farm work in boots. The fitted design wicks moisture away from the skin and pushes it to the outside of the fabric, keeping the skin dry. We also noticed that water beads on the fabric (not immediately absorbing), illustrating the excellent wicking capabilities. This makes this sock an ideal three-season option, best for fall, spring, and winter, especially where moisture is present.


Even though it is thick, this is the most breathable of all the thicker socks we tested. It is ideal for running on cold winter mornings, keeping feet dry even with high-intensity activity. That said, there is a limit to what it can do. Given its high boot height, it's not recommended for wear on super hot days.

darn tough hiker full cushion hiking socks review - a closer look at the breathable cuff on the darn tough hiker full...
A closer look at the breathable cuff on the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Warmth


Boasting excellent insulation, the Full Cushion is warm and does well in most weather conditions. The blend of materials does a great job of insulating feet when wet and dry. We appreciate a tall sock that provides additional warmth on cold days. In our testing, we observed that this contender kept our feet warm in temperatures in the low 20s (Fahrenheit) while hiking and standing around.


When splitboarding in Alaska, we could wear this sock all day. We would hike and ski, make dinner, then go to bed. Even though changing your socks in these cold temperatures is recommended, we didn't need to. The material insulated well and kept our feet warm all night, even when the temps dipped below freezing.

darn tough hiker full cushion hiking socks review - here we take a splitboarding tour, exploring the alaskan mountains...
Here we take a splitboarding tour, exploring the Alaskan mountains. The Darn Tough Full Cushion sock functions well as both a ski and hiking sock option.
Credit: Amber King

Durability


Like the name infers, this sock is true to being "Darn Tough ."Like all other socks from this company, it scores high in this category. The high-density Merino wool construction provides durability that should last you years. In our testing, we put it through the wringer. We wore it while trekking through varying microclimates of the high Peruvian Andes for a month. We took it splitboarding in the Central Alaska mountain range for a week. We also went backpacking through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.


Over the last few years, we've logged upwards of 200 miles in this sock, including hard hiking, running, and snowboarding. In the end, we only noticed some pilling around the heel and midfoot. For a hiking sock, this is truly impressive. What's more, is that the Full Cushion comes with a lifetime warranty — like all Darn Tough products. This means that if you get a hole in the material, you can send your socks back for a brand new pair. You read that right. That said, if it's served you well and you like Darn Tough, do them a solid and just buy another pair to support a company that makes exceptional products.

darn tough hiker full cushion hiking socks review - even after many many miles and all our durability tests, the full...
Even after many many miles and all our durability tests, the Full Cushion maintains its cushioning and tight knit construction.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Drying Speed


We are impressed with how well this sock did in our updated drying test. It absorbed only 114% of its weight in water, the least of any other sock in our review. When drying on the line, it dried nearly as fast as some of the lightweight and medium-weight contenders. In the field, we noticed that the fabric does a pretty good job of drying out through the sock's length. However, due to more cushioning, the sole of the sock can get swampy if not properly ventilated with the right footwear. Aside from that, we'd say that the Full Cushion offers a great rate of drying, standing up to the test for wet climates and weather.


While the Full Cushion is suitable for cold wintry applications, it has one advantage over other cold weather socks — it's composed of a higher percentage of synthetic fabrics. Synthetic fabrics dry more quickly than wool, and we see that with the drying rate of this sock.

darn tough hiker full cushion hiking socks review - navigating the snow slopes while hiking up to island in the sky on...
Navigating the snow slopes while hiking up to Island in the Sky on an early Spring hike in the San Juan mountains. This sock provides good wicking to keep the feet dry, even when shoes and socks are both wet.
Credit: Amber King

Should You Buy the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion?


This is a great sock to have in your drawer. It will provide plenty of warmth for cold weather pursuits, and it's best in class for wicking and breathability. It also has enough cushion to stand up to the longest of days on the trail. It's hard to find an ill-suited adventure for this champion. On top of all that, it has a lifetime guarantee that we have claimed and verified. Whether you're looking for a sock that will keep your foot comfortable over miles and days backpacking, warm and sweat free while you tackle the slopes, or simply comfortable on your next hike, this sock can't come more highly recommended.

What Other Hiking Socks Should You Consider?


The Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion sock is our favorite sock overall, and it does a superb job of tackling almost any condition. However, if you're packing your axe to tackle a winter peak, you might want to grab our top choice for cold weather, the Smartwool Classic Mountaineer Maximum Cushion. And, while The Darn Tough Full Cushion would be good to have on cold desert nights, long hot days on sandy trails may be more comfortable with our favorite lightweight hiking sock, the Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew. Better yet, pack all three, and you'll literally be prepared for any occasion.

darn tough hiker full cushion hiking socks review - taking a rest after a long day of hiking in the darn tough hiker...
Taking a rest after a long day of hiking in the Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion. This sock was our all-around favorite. It's a great pick for those seeking a versatile sock that will keep you warm and comfortable on the trail.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Amber King and Jon Oleson
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